The Best Undead Slaying Video Games of All Time: Chapter III
8. Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect didn’t have zombies in the traditional sense, but what it did have was Husks. When the Normandy touched down on several colonies, Shepard would come across these huge spikes that towered above the ground. It was said that colonists were placed on these “Dragon’s Teeth”, dead or alive, and impaled as they rose upwards. This was part of the process that changed these humans into Husks: basically undead, cybronic or cybernetic beings, sort of similar to The Borg from the Star Trek universe in a way.
It was said that the Geth obtained some basic technology on how to make Dragon’s Teeth and Husks, from none other than the Reapers.
These husks weren’t particularly difficult to get rid of. But what they lacked in strength, they made up for in sheer numbers.
Husks made an even bigger impact in the sequel, Mass Effect 2. The run-of-the-mill husks made a return, but in addition to these, a new sort of Husk made its debut. A suicidal ticking time bomb, that would run up to you and detonate, causing mass amounts of damage: the Abomination. Once again it was sheer numbers that would gang up on you, and Husks, much like zombies, would rise up out of the very ground to attack. In most cases biotic powers that team members possessed became invaluable in taking down these cretins. And having armour piercing bullets didn’t hurt either. Well, it hurt the Husks anyway.
Two even worse husk types were seen as well. There’s the Scion, which is said to consist of 3 Husks combined, and the Praetorian, which is made up of 30. And these things are notoriously difficult to beat. Unlike most of the others, they have regenerating armour.
Practically the entire main story of Mass Effect 2 revolved around the Husks. Once your crack team had been assembled and combat hardened, you took the Normandy 2 through the Mass Relay on a proposed suicide mission.
It was here that you discovered the ultimate enemy. One HUGE Husk that was being assembled, and practically in a prototype stage, suspended above an enormous chasm. It turns out that all along, The Collectors had been rounding up colonists, and not only making more advanced Husks, but using many to to build this synthetic monstrosity. Of course you and your team manage to eventually destroy this colossus.
7. Return to Castle Wolfenstein
id Software’s Wolfenstein series is known for its story revolving around a lot of the myths involving the Nazis and their rumoured involvement in the occult and the supernatural during World War II. Perhaps no game in the series contains more evidence of this than 2001’s Return to Castle Wolfenstein.
The first mission saw the series protagonist, Captain William Joseph “B.J.” Blazkowicz, escaping from Castle Wolfenstein – much like he had done in the first game. The second mission throws you right in to the thick of it, as you embark on a hunt for the chief SS Paranormal Division team members, including Oberführer Helga von Bulow. This sees you opening up a sealed entrance that leads in to the underground catacombs.
Here you have more than one enemy. Not only are you battling the Nazi soldiers that were sealed in and left behind, seemingly with no way out, but also the demonic denizens that inhabit this nightmarish place.
These mainly consist of undead warriors from an ancient past – likely Germanic warriors who probably fought alongside Heinrich I (the character witnessed in the opening cinematic). Some have swords and shields, which they use to protect themselves from your bullets, and others rely on alternate means of attack – such as flinging spirit attacks that inundate and blind you temporarily. There’s one huge beast you must face at the end of this chapter that employs these attacks and then some. This thing was known as Olaric - a big mass of many souls.
Later in the game you will happen across dangerous laboratories and test chambers where Nazi scientists have been working on developing X-Creatures as well as Ubersoldats, or Super Soldiers – monstrous undead creations that sport some terrifying weaponry.
But likely the most intense battle is at the end, where Blazkowicz goes toe to toe with not only endless hordes of undead and zombies, but also has to contend with Heinrich I, who has been resurrected; back from the dead after a thousand years. He is a massive physical specimen who is armoured like a tank and has some rather scary abilities. He is probably one of the hardest, if not the hardest, bosses to defeat in the entire series.
6. Fallout 3
Fallout 3 was very, very different from Fallout 1 and Fallout 2. It no longer had the isometric 2D feel of the originals, and quite a bit was different. Not least of which was that the game was developed by Bethesda, and not Black Isle Studios (who now ironically, are working on Fallout: New Vegas under the name Obsidian).
But differences aside, it was still a very good game, and Bethesda is one of the only studios who perfected the art of DLC or episodic content – releasing all five packs in a space of one or two months of one another the year after its release, eventually culminating in the GOTY edition.
Now, as far as the undead go, in this game you had a creature which was similar to a zombie. They might not even have been undead, technically. They were really just mutilated humans that barely survived the huge nuclear holocaust that took place hundreds of years ago. The creatures are called Ghouls, and they too come in different flavours.
The Ghouls you’ll bump in to in the various towns and cities dotting the landscape of the Capital Wasteland are mostly tame or domesticated Ghouls. They were once people, and not much has changed besides their obviously radically different physical features and speech, which makes them look and sound quite a bit like Clint Eastwood. Granted most of them can be a little coarse and hostile at times, and probably are even more bitter and antagonistic towards a vault dweller such as the player, who was “privileged” enough to have been sheltered away from the horrors that the rest of the country faced many years ago.
But despite all this, they are very knowledgeable on a great deal of subjects. This is because a lot of them have lived for two hundred years or more – a result of the radiation exposure one would guess.
There’s also a second species of Ghoul, and one that isn’t as approachable: the Feral Ghoul. These kinds of Ghouls mainly live underground, mostly in the abandoned metro stations and tunnels. They have devolved or regressed to an animalistic state, and will always attack the player and any other human that trespasses in the underground. They aren’t slow, nor shuffling either. When they see you, they will let out a horrendous noise and rush at you. Of course it’s tremendous fun to use the V.A.T.S. system to target body parts and watch as they’re cut down in mid-sprint.
There is however more than one type of feral ghoul. You get the Glowing Ones, which are radioactive rascals who are a little stronger than the average ghoul, and can even use radiation to heal other Ghouls. There’s the Feral Ghoul Roamers, which are armoured – possibly former US Soldiers (at some point you also meet Chinese Remnants, and they carry Chinese Assault Rifles). The Feral Ghoul Reavers are the worst of all, and are massive brutes that take a hell of a lot of punishment before going down. They also tend to throw radioactive gore explosives at you. Another Ghoul that was added in the DLC packs was the Swamp Ghoul. This one appeared in Point Outlook.
The zombies you meet in all three STALKER games became that way due to the influence of the zone – particularly the Brain Scorcher, which turns them in to these shuffling targets. To an extent, there might be other causes that transform them in to this state, such as the emissions, or blowouts, that take place in the game.
Don’t think that just because they shuffle around though that they’re easy pickings - because they’re not. One thing that a stalker never does is put down his weapon, and the same can be said about these things. They have enough intelligence left to be able to see you, whilst mumbling incoherently (although it could be slurred Russian), and aim their assault rifles or pistols at you. They tend to shuffle in groups, and when they march slowly towards you whilst emptying their clips while firing from the hip, it can get a bit hairy. The best approach is to sit on a hilltop, and take a sniper rifle, preferably silenced like the VSS (or Vintar BC as they call it in-game) and cap them off from afar. It’s very satisfying this way, and saves you a lot of trouble if you were to otherwise get caught in the middle of a whole group of them.
Indoors however, your mobility is restricted, and the best thing to do is to fire off your weapon, alerting them to your presence. Then all you do is wait in a dark corner of a room with your flashlight off, and take 'em down as them as they walk single-file through the doorway.
4. Doom 3
Doom 3 arrived over ten years after the original Doom took the world by storm. It was essentially a remake of the original game, and was said by id Software to take place as though the original two hadn’t happened – story wise. This time the game took place on Mars, instead of Phobos and Deimos, inside a huge Mars Facility. Of course a trip to hell also took place.
The game started off at a decidedly more sedate pace this time around, and you docked at Mars City, and started on a tour, as it were, of the facility. But things eventually picked up as you witnessed these flying skulls (the Doom 3 version of the Lost Souls) enter through a gateway from Hell and begin to possess everyone in sight, including the scientist you happen to be in the room with.
So you start backtracking through Mars City, being attacked by all forms of zombies. A few of the old favourites showed their faces, but there were several other additions. You had the scientist zombies and the engineer zombies which were unarmed, and of the slow, shuffling variety. Then things picked up as you faced off against the Z-Sec or security guard zombies, which were more or less the equivalent of what you faced in Doom and Doom II. Not only did some of them have pistols and shotguns, but others carried a machinegun as well.
There was also the flaming (not what you're thinking) zombie who got involved in an unfortunate accident with some fire. He was faster than the average unarmed zombie, but had a limp. Later on in the game there were two other armed zombies. You had the chainsaw zombie, who wasn’t hard to dispatch, but it was usually a little unnerving to see him coming towards you with a chainsaw. The commando or heavy weapons guy from Doom II made a comeback as well – except there were two versions this time: The one with the chaingun, which was scary enough, and the tentacle one.
I actually think the tentacle whip guy was scarier. The guy ran at you full speed and whipped out this retractable tentacle (once again, not what you’re thinking) out of his arm which had incredible reach. This whip would slap you across the face unless you ducked and it missed you. Of course you had to be quick to counter afterwards, seeing as he would be quite happy to get up close and personal while punching and kicking you.
I think the one thing that many felt was a bit “unrealistic” in terms of zombies in Doom 3, was that they could take multiple shots, even to the head. It took a mod to make it more inline with zombie movie culture, so that zombies would instantly go down if shot in the head even once.
© 2010 ANDR01D